Tuesday, March 15, 2011


This is my first time out of the country and all I can say is WOW!!! Belize is such a beautiful country with amazing people. The trip to the mayan ruins and the rain forest were gorgeous! We have already had two work days and I have taught 3 classes now. The kids are so unique and loving! They love their picture being taken and I feel like they really took a lot from our lessons. The day I went with the nurses into the homes of the villagers was really touching. Little chicks were running everywhere! The little they have they don't take for granted. The culture is something else! I am so happy I got to experience this and am looking forward to tomorrows work day in the dental clinic and my last class then the prison and the U.S. Embassy on Thursday! We also experienced Dangrigan dancers and drummers with dinner. So much to remember, but so much fun!

-Courtney Dixon, Justice Administration Senior

Monday, March 14, 2011

Bienvenidos a Red Bank!

Today we had our first work day in Red Bank and Independence. The dental clinic was up and running by 9 am and nursing students were venturing out into the community to get to know the villagers. Because the U of L dental clinic has been coming to Belize for many years it functions like a well oiled machine. Nursing students helped Dr. Jones and Dr. Daugherty triage patients while dental students manned the stations. They were assisted by students from each discipline and worked together to help nearly 50 villagers with various dental issues. They encountered a few minor bumps in the form of anxious kids and complex dental problems, but in the end were able to provide a major service to the village of Red Bank.
Upon entering the village, Dr. Nash and Lauren Rollins, a graduate student from U of L studying public health, went in search of the village's water source. The main well was dug in 1979, which was also the last time the water was tested. Today Lauren and Dr. Nash were able to obtain samples of the well to test for various pathogens. Lauren and Dr. Nash also tested the areas in the creek where villagers wash clothes and bathe. After collecting these samples, students went into the villagers' homes to discuss basic illnesses, such as fever and diarrhea, and how to recognize and treat them. Using a survey tool, we were able to collect information on sanitation, hygiene, and attitudes and knowledge regarding these health problems. We then left the families with a small kit of medical supplies to help treat minor illnesses.
By the end of our first work day many of us were left with life long memories and experiences that truly opened our eyes to how the rest of the world lives. We are all so motivated to continue learning from the Belizean culture and help them in any way we can. I'm looking forward to more new experiences throughout the week... check back with us to follow our adventure!

Buenas noches, from Belize!
-Emily Wright, nursing
-Lauren Rollins, nursing/MPH

Work Day 1

Today was our first work day, and it was AWESOME! I started out in the schools. The kids were so excited that we were there. After about ten minutes we all got acquainted with each other, and everything just flowed. Communications did an "All about me" pamphlet, and Justice Administration did a workshop on bullying. The kids really got into both activities. They were not shy about answering questions or sharing stories. Most were eager to tell about their home lives. We came to a point when they were talking about a famous dance in their country and two of the boys got up and taught two to me. The school and interacting with the children was definitely the highlight of my day! In the afternoon, I went to the Dental Clinic. I enjoyed learning about the process of pulling teeth. I am officially a pro at using the suction tool and holding a flash light. Overall my time here in Belize has been amazing. I really feel like I am making a difference here, no matter how small it may be. I am very blessed to have this opportunity. If anyone ever has the opportunity to participate in something like this whether it is local or in a foreign country, do it! It is the most rewarding experience of my life. The people are loving and receptive. The children are dolls, and the country itself is unlike anything you have ever seen in your life!!!

Carmen Blakemore- Senior JA

First Day of Service

We have completed our first day of service--and it was a day of firsts! It was the first time we saw our new programs in action, the first time a lot of people engaged in particular activities, and the first time some disciplines worked in Independence. We definitely learned a lot--all went very well overall, but there is also much still to learn and adjust! After spending time in a primary school, you have to respect teachers more! I heard several comments along these lines during the day. And, of course, the most rewarding point of working in a school is the smiles of children. Across the classes, the primary school students gave excellent examples and made insightful points. Based on our experiences today, we are even more excited about time in the school tomorrow! And I look forward to seeing our university students in action again!

Joy Hart

It's Like Pulling Teeth!

What a day, what a day. It was a jam packed day from the dental team, extracting teeth from crying toddlers to modifying dentures for grandmothers. It was real eye opener for me, being just a second year dental student. Let's just say there were a lot of firsts for me, and I didn't kill anyone! I had a lot of help from the upper classmen and the doctors. They were great with all kinds of pointers and helpful instruction, and lots of patience. Besides the scorpions and tarantulas in the clinic, all went smooth today. It was a surreal feeling working in the dental clinic for my first time, knowing that this is what I will be doing the rest of my life, and doing it in a foreign country for people who barely have enough to feed their own family. It gave me a great confirmation in my decision to do dentistry and in my decision to serve those who are underprivileged. It is a very humbling experience to see how content and gracious people are regardless of their circumstances. Coming on this trip, I was anticipating changing the lives of those who I would encounter, yet I sense that the greater impact will be on myself. Jonathan Shelton, a third year dental student, closed the day with a great statement, "I'm here to elevate teeth, and to elevate spirits!"

- andy wicke

ps. jenny and courtney were the real deal in the nursing operation. jenny is a thermometer teaching machine!

and complements to Lauren Rollins for editing.

Day 1: Lessons Learned

Today was our first work day and it was a learning experience for us all. At first I was a little nervous about going to the schools but the kids were wonderful and so welcoming. Everyone was so friendly and really enjoyed us being there. My morning group was a class of 10-11 year olds. They were so much fun and had some pretty unique answers to our questions. In the afternoon the group was pretty rowdy but made me appreciate teachers a lot more. It was definitely difficult trying to teach to such a wild group but in the end my group made it through. Overall the day was a ton of fun. I get the chance to work in the dental clinic tomorrow and I am very excited about learning a new lesson in the dental world.

Jordan Price

First Work Day in Independence

Today went well, we went to the schools for the first time today and it went pretty good for the most part. We hit a few bumps and definitely didn't get through everything I wanted to but I think the children really enjoyed themselves. The kids here are so cute and so amazingly sweet! They are very fast learners and every child I taught was very well behaved. It was an eye opening experience though to hear some of the children and the answers they give. A lot of them make me think they have been beaten or sexually abused which is so sad but unfortunately there is nothing we can do. On a happier note, I loved getting the pictures of all the kids and they loved seeing them. I wish we could go back and see them again but we are onto the next school tomorrow. I am having a great time and eating lots of great food. I love and miss you all and can't wait to see you!

Beverly Bryant
Communication Student

The First Day

Well today was the first overall day of service work we did as a group. The first part of our day was split between going to Independence School, and Red Bank Village. The Communication and Justice Admin. groups for the first part of the day went to Independence where we taught them about bullying (Justice Admin. Program) and the Book of Me (Comm. Program) - The Book of Me is all about having the kids realize where they are from, where they want to be, and how they can achieve those goals and ideas they have to go with. Below are pictures of us in the classroom in the morning teaching the students the two programs from Justice Administration and Communications Programs.

After lunch, the ISLP Group switched up the roles, and some Dental and Nursing Program Students went to the schools, and some of the Communication and Justice Administration Program went to the Dental and Nursing site (Red Bank Village). I was in the Dental area and was able to watch our amazing U of L Dentistry students and teachers help the villagers with any mouth/tooth pain. Also the Nursing students were able to go around the village and check the water. We are proud to say that we have been the first group that has checked the water in the village since 1979 - when the first well was put in the Village. While the Dentistry students were helping the people out, some of the ISLP Students were getting to know the Red Bank population and playing soccer and playing with the kids before or after they visited with our Dental Clinic. Below is the setup of our Dental Clinic and tomorrow we will post more pictures of the actual work being done in the Clinic.

Another beautiful day in Belize, and tomorrow will only be better!! We look forward to tomorrow and are all excited to go back out into the communities.

Tony Ausick

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Un Belize-able :)

This is our second day in Belize and it has been amazing. A few of us went to the rain forest today and were able to tube down the river. Our tour guide escorted us through the rain forest while explaining how the plants are used for natural remedies. The tour guide was telling us how his dad is 102 years old and his grandmother died when she was 114 years old. Our group was shocked because rarely will you ever see that in the states.

The most amazing experience came later in the night when we were able to go into Red Bank, which is a Mayan village. Interacting with the locals was such an humbling experience. I feel so fortunate to be able to have this experience and learn their way of life.

The locals have been so welcoming and eager to interact with the university. This has been such a rewarding opportunity and I am so excited to go into the schools and the dental clinic.

The faculty and the other members are all wonderful!! And the weather has been beautiful!!
Cameron Lewis (Nursing)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

First Few Days in Belize

Well Friday was interesting day to say the least; getting to the airport at 4am with no sleep was a hassle but I made it. After an hour of sleep on the plane we arrived in Atlanta and I was walking through the airport like a zombie. We started to load the Tran and low and behold the door shut right when I was walking through and my backpack got stuck in the door! After my life flashed before my eyes the doors opened and I was let in safely, thank goodness. After waiting in the airport for a little bit we loaded the plane and I fell right asleep. Once we landed in Belize I was so excited that I didn’t pay attention to any of the signs. I pulled out my camera and took a picture of the sign that said Belize Airport and all of a sudden someone was snatching my camera out of my hands! Apparently you aren’t allowed to take pictures in customs and I had to do it in front of the most power-hungry police officer there. Scared to death that I was already losing my camera within 5 minutes of being there, I ran to Doctor Foster in tears. We finally got the man in a room to talk about it and he was extremely rude to us, BUT I did get my camera back. Unfortunately Emma’s camera was taken away too but no worries, she got hers back also. After all of this happened I was a little shaken up but we were able to move on and have a good time. For lunch we stopped at a place called Santorini’s which was amazing! They had wonderful food and surprisingly I tried some of everything and loved it. Later we arrived at our hotel for an evening of relaxation and a wonderful dinner with great friends. I do miss everyone at home but I am having the time of my life and I have already taken TONS of pictures. I can’t wait to get to the schools and work with the children and I especially can’t wait to help the dental students and take a trip to the Jail in Hattieville. I love everyone and will talk to you soon!

Beverly Bryant
Communications Student

Mayan Ruins

Today we went to the Mayan ruins which is one of the most amazing things I've ever seen. Our guide was hilarious and was fun to be around. Climbing up the hill was a challenge but the views from the top were spectacular. You could see Guatemala from the top of the temple. It's only lunch time and it's already been a great day. Check out the photos!!

Jordan Price

Beautiful Belize

Amazing...Awesome...Incredible...These are just a few of the descriptors uttered by the students as they spent their first full day in Belize. It is such a joy to watch our UofL students experience the beauty and wonder of a new place, especially a place as beautiful as Belize. This is my fifth trip with ILSP and I am incredibly proud and fulfilled as I watch our students embrace these exceptional and unique cultural exchanges. Our students are so willing to learn from the people they meet and are genuinely humbled by the kindness, generosity, and acceptance of them by the local populace. As a faculty member I feel so blessed to be given this opportunity to work with our students as they become global stewards,

Beth Grossi
Justice Administration

Just Beautiful

The Country is beautiful, the food is beautiful, this hotel beautiful, the UofL ISLP (students and staff) group is beautiful, the 400 B.C. Mayan ruins where Awesome, the Bealizean people are all so beautiful!
We have only been here for two days and this is definitely a beautiful and self-improving experience that i will never for forget. I hope that everyone at UofL take advantage of ISLP opportunities!

Kamero Neblett

CARDS in Belize

We have now spent one full day in beautiful Belize. Having traveled to several other countries, I tried to think of what places am I reminded by in Belize; it is quite a unique place. The preservation of nature is truly spectacular and really amazes me.
Food is among things that I look forward to when I travel and I am happy that we've been able to try new things: cantaloupe juice, star fruit, and mutton (goat meat) just to name a few.

As some of the others have mentioned, today was filled with wonderful retreats including a quick hike to Xunantunish, the Mayan ruins, some shopping, and the Pelican Resort in Dangriga.
Follow this link for more information on the Mayan ruins: http://www.slickrock.com/belizemayanruins.html

Just like any other dedicated Cards fan, we watched both of the basketball games. We are so proud of the Cards and cannot wait for the NCAA tournament!

Sana Abhari (JA)
Student Body President

Friday, March 11, 2011

We have arrived!

We have arrived safely in Belize and are currently checking in at Cahal Pech. In the morning we go to the Myan Ruins. Tonight we hope that we will be able to watch the Basketball Game.
Go Cards
Michael Mardis

Thursday, March 10, 2011

ISLP Belize 2011

The UofL International Service Learning team for 2011 is ready for departure on March 11.

The interdisciplinary service learning teams include students and faculty from Dentistry, Communication, Justice Administration, and Nursing. We will be in Belize for one very full week. The trip includes some cultural and fun time at the Mayan Ruins called Xunantanich and snorkeling on the barrier reef. The majority of our time will be spent working in the villages of Red Bank, Independence, and Georgetown. The villages are located in the Stann Creek district which in the southern portion of Belize.

The team has many projects planned:
* Dental Clinic
* Workshops on Bullying and Conflict Resolution
* Teaching and Work in Schools
* Home visits with parents about health care

We will post information and photos each day of our trip. Please send notes and comments back to the team. This will be our way to stay in touch with our friends and family while we are on the trip.

Michael Mardis
Dean of Students

Map of Belize

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Lauren's Video Reflection from Cebu

Here's a reflection from Lauren Hendricks, a graduate student at UofL, from her two weeks in the Philippines with ISLP.